Airbnb to BSkyB: 10 more speakers at the Festival of Marketing

Before you disregard this post as a promo for the Festival of Marketing, be aware I’ve included handy links to brilliant brand blog posts within.

From Airbnb to BSkyb, Barclays to B&Q, Paddy Power to the NHS, check out the wealth of speakers at this year’s Festival.

Join us in the heart of old London at Tobacco Dock, November 12-13th. For even more reasons, see the full speaker list and ten more of the best.

How the top brands use Twitter for social customer care

Although they may not have been originally set up as such, branded Twitter accounts will always attract customer service enquiries, comments and of course complaints. 

Imagine you’ve been stung by a sudden and unfair rise in your energy bill. You try emailing the energy provider to find out what’s going on. You receive no reply. You spend ages trying to find the relevant telephone number on its website.

You then make the call only to be handed off to multiple customer service agents after waiting in a queue for an enraging amount of time. That is if you’ve phoned within its operating hours.

It used to be that if you wanted to get yourself heard, you had to write a letter. There was an assumption that ‘the man’ considered someone who’d take time to sit down, draft a letter and walk down to the post box as a person who was really hacked off and therefore would end up being much more of a thorn in the company’s side.

Now there’s a new way. A much swifter, more immediate and best of all more public way.

The rise of social media and the need for every brand, ecommerce business and service provider to have a presence on the most popular channels has meant that consumers have a direct line to that business.

Why do online retailers need live chat?

Just 14% of UK online retailers offer live chat as a customer service channel.

In a recent survey by idealo, only a small number of UK retailers offered live chat as a customer service channel, and in the rest of Europe, an average of 18% of retailers offered access to live chat.

Live chat is the online support service that provides instant help for consumers who are seeking immediate help from a customer service assistant in real time. It normally appears on ecommerce sites or service providers in the form of a little text box that says “how can I help you?”

As you would expect, the most popular method of contact from the survey is by writing, with an average of 91% of all online shops offering contact via email or contact form. Although I’m surprised this figure isn’t even higher.

Perhaps this is down to many European retailers preferring customers to pick up the phone. Italy for example goes heavily against the email trend, with 98% of their online retailers offering phone contact, but only 56% offering email contact.

This leaves live chat somewhat in the doldrums.

Consumers prefer live chat for customer service: stats

Live chat has the highest satisfaction levels for any customer service channel, with 73%, compared with 61% for email and 44% for phone. 

I can see why as live chat combines the best of phone and email, and avoids the pain of hanging on the line listening to muzak. 

The stats come from eDigital’s Customer Service Benchmark which surveyed 2,000 consumers on their experiences of various customer service channels. 

Here, I’ve taken a closer look at the stats, and the value of providing live chat for customers…

Fight Club! Sky vs Virgin Media: a user experience comparison

With BSkyB publishing its Q1 results today, and Sky’s recent rap on the knuckles after wrongly criticising Virgin Media over its traffic management policies, now seems an appropriate time to put their respective websites to the user experience test.

Similar to my previous post comparing luxury travel sites, here I’ll take a look at the respective media giants’ customer-facing websites in terms of ease of use, functionality, availability of service and how easy is it to find the TV and broadband package you’re looking for.

How can brands take greater advantage of second-screen usage?

A recent BBC World News survey of more than 3,600 digital device owners found that 43% of tablet users say they consume more TV than they did five years ago, with most respondents saying they use tablets alongside TV.

A recent Deloitte survey found that 24% are using a second screen while watching TV. This crossover with leisure time presents a unique opportunity to convert those in a ‘lean-back’ position. 

So how can marketers respond to this trend? 

Monetise this: the connected experience

Connected second screen experiences have enjoyed, or arguably suffered, a prolonged period of experimentation. No single slam dunk business model has disrupted the landscape, but there are several approaches that have succeeded in generating additional revenues and enhancing the 30-second TV spot. 

Since they are not ubiquitous, you may not be aware of these successes. Here I examine the barriers and opportunities for the connected experience in detail.

This blog elaborates on the latter, with some examples of great connected experiences that have been successfully monetised.

How ASOS, Sky and Schuh use live chat to personalise online shopping

Live chat is still a relatively new customer service channel, though it’s proving to be an increasingly popular method of communicating with brands.

Stats from BoldChat show that more than 65% of US online shoppers have used live chat, up from 50.4% in 2009.

The figure is slightly lower in the UK but still growing at 53%, up from 41% in 2011.

The same research shows that 31% of respondents would be more likely to purchase after a live chat, however this stat should be treated with a decent amount of scepticism, as it’s difficult for people to accurately predict their future purchase behaviour.